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Monocropping Cultures into Ruin: The Loss of Food Varieties and Cultural Diversity

Author

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  • Peter J. Jacques

    () (University of Central Florida, Department of Political Science, Orlando, Florida 32816, USA)

  • Jessica Racine Jacques

    () (University of Central Florida, Department of Sociology, Orlando, Florida 32816, USA)

Abstract

The loss of genetic diversity of thousands of plants and crops has been well documented at least since the 1970s, and has been understood as a result of epistemological and political economic conditions of the Green Revolution. The political economic arrangement of the Green Revolution, alongside a post-war focus on economies of scale and export-oriented growth, replace high-yield single varieties of crops for a diverse array of varieties that may not have the same yield, but may be able to resist pests, disease, and changing climatic conditions. Also, the harvest does not flow in all directions equally: Whereas small holder subsistence farming uses a large variety of crops as a food source and small-scale trade, the industrial economic system requires simplified, machine harvested ship-loads of one variety of maize, for example. Diverse varieties of different crops confound the machines, whereas one variety of wheat can be harvested with one setting on a machine. However, none of this is new. The purpose of this article is to analyze how the twin concerns of lost varietals and lost cultures are bound together in the socio-political process of standardization, and to explain some areas of resistance.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter J. Jacques & Jessica Racine Jacques, 2012. "Monocropping Cultures into Ruin: The Loss of Food Varieties and Cultural Diversity," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(11), pages 1-28, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:4:y:2012:i:11:p:2970-2997:d:21279
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Green Revolution; food security; food sovereignty; means of production; productive forces; culture; political ecology; political sociology;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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